The milk sign is a lot like milking a cow (or goat), but without the vertical motion - you are just squeezing the udder. You take your dominant hand, make it into a fist, relax, and repeat.
You will notice most babies have trouble moving all fingers together at uniform speeds, but any kind of repeated squeezing and relaxing of the hand is likely milk. If you want to distinguish breast milk from bottle milk, sign milk near your breast.
Milk would be one of the first signs that I would teach my baby, because it corresponds to something they find highly desirable, and so they are highly motivated. Also, teaching the milk sign helps reduce frustration, when your baby wants to feed but cannot communicate it effectively in any other way than being cranky. Make the milk sign before you feed your baby.
Once you have taught your baby a sign using real-life examples, it can help if you teach them the flash card that has the same sign. That will help your baby generalize the sign and understand that it applies to more than just a single instance.
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I’m teaching my dog to recognize hand signals. This resource is great. Thanks a lot!
Wow! Glad our BSL resources can help you communicate with your dog, Alex. On that note, there are some books/resources out there that do teach pet sign language as well. Either way, have fun!
I am so glad I came across this page! Every day I learn something new and I teach it to the kids. Definitely saving this in my favorites tab!
It is great blog post. I am always reading your Baby Sign Language blog. Thanks for sharing this information with us.
it was great information.
I like it
I like the way you sign milk
Bottle and milk
Mi bebé hace una señal cuando quiere leche. Le estamos enseñando a nuestro bebé a hablar dos idiomas como bilingüe.
Es muy bueno empezar a enseñarle a su bebé varios idiomas. Este es el período en que sus mentes son más absorbentes para aprender idiomas. ¡Felicidades!
I love the sign language!
It was helpful to learn signs with my baby. It has cut down on a lot of fussing. Plus, it has been a lot of fun.
I learned the signs following every step. it is very nice and helps us. Thank you.
Mi bebé está aprendiendo
My baby is only 4 months old, and just now keeping her eyes open and smiling.
I like this site.
my baby already responds to some of the sign language
I read with my son and he is trying to hold his own bottle
I will try to teach my baby
My daughter school taught her how to sign, but it’s good for me to learn as well
Thanks for the advice
I’m working with my greatneice everyday health developments and health foods trying to even get her to speak words and she 10 1/2 months she is very intelligent
Super awesome I love signing with my son, he’s super apart and enjoys it as well!
We have noticed that our baby does the sign for milk, unknowingly, coincedence
ADMIN – Hi Amy,
I love that. My baby already does that kinda but for other reasons.
Am interested in learning signlanguage the basic
If he learned how to wave bye bye first in a similar fashion, How can I help him distinguish between him saying milk or waving hi/bye since they look similar?
ADMIN – Hi Donita,
Some of the signs are similar, particularly for the younger ones where they are just doing an approximation of the real sign. However, it is usually obvious what the meaning is from the context.
I’m so excited! I started showing my 9 1/2 month old daughter how to make the milk sign and then dropped it after about a week (i’m not good with consistency unfortunately). She definitely seemed interested at the time.
This week she unfortunately has chicken pox (at 10 1/2 months) but she started showing me the sign for milk which was very exciting because poor thing has had no appetite! This definitely inspired me to pick the signing thing back up. Amazing how quickly babies pick things up and how smart they are at this age!
acknowledge her request, say no and provide an alternative in the form of recreation or other non-food activities.
My baby has learnt the sign for milk but does it very frequently. What do you do when you no longer feed on demand to limit milk to her routine if she’s asking for it between feeds?
Many moms teach their little ones to point at their breasts.
Are there any other signs you could suggest for nursing? I’m not so crazy about using the sign for milk (gesturing milking a cow) with my daughter. Thanks so much, Michelle
Our household is bilingual. My husband is speaking to our twins entirely in Spanish and I am speaking to them in English. If we both want to use sign language, should my husband say Papa or leche and use the same sign for daddy and milk?
ADMIN – Hi Francesca,
Many bilingual household use baby sign language as a bridge between the two language. Both of you can use the same sign but a different word. The consistent use of the sign helps baby learn that you are both referring to the same thing, even though you are using different words.